MSW Curriculum

The Advanced Social Work Practice degree will prepare you with the theoretical knowledge, applied skills, and values to work across a continuum of services at micro, mezzo and macro levels. Our model prepares you to practice with a wide range of populations and settings to meet the needs of your community. The curriculum emphasizes culturally responsive practice needed for the increasing diversity within communities at a local, state, national or global context.  

The minimum credits required for the Master of Social Work degree is 81  for MSW students and 54 for Advanced-Standing MSW students (who enter with a B.S.W). The bridge curriculum for MSW students is 36 credits and pathway curriculum is made up of 45 credits. The table below shows a list of required foundational and pathway course offerings for the Advanced Social Work Practice degree.   

No matter your areas of interest, you can tailor your studies to meet your goals while ensuring you will be well-prepared for social work practice in a variety of applied settings. Students have the option to design and choose their own pathways.  

Two Social Work Programs Grounded in Social Justice

MSW@Denver offers two online program options:

Online MSW

For students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work

Learn more about the Online MSW curriculum.

Online Advanced-Standing MSW

For students with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from any point in time.

Learn more about the Online Advanced-Standing MSW curriculum.

View the admission requirements for both program tracks.

Foundational Courses

Foundational Curriculum (for MSW students-non advanced standing) Credits  
SOWK 4000: Professional Development Seminar  
SOWK 4001: Clinical SW Skills  
SOWK 4003: Clinical SW Theory and Practice  
SOWK 4006: Human Behavior & the Social Environment  
SOWK 4007: Community/Macro SW Theory & Practice  
SOWK 4020: Integrated SW Practice for Social Justice  
SOWK 4132: Power, Privilege, & Oppression  
SOWK 4120: Social Policy Analysis, Advocacy, & Practice  
SOWK 4201: Evidence for Practice   
SOWK 4950: Foundation Field Internship 

Advanced Standing CurriculumCredits
SOWK 4201: Evidence for Practice  
SOWK 4132: Power, Privilege, & Oppression (new course Fall 2024) 
SOWK 4299: Advanced Standing Seminar (new course Fall 2024)
Total Advanced Standing Requirements  prior to Concentration level coursework

All students are required to take the following course credits in each practice area:  

Concentration Curriculum:
Select 1 from menu of required course options by each category  
Required Theory  
SOWK 4325: Evolving Perspectives & Trends in Health & Wellness  
SOWK 4345: Intersections of MH, Substance Use, & Trauma  
Required Assessment Skills (Practice class, per CSWE)  
SOWK 4338: Assessment of MH Across the Lifespan  
Required Ethics, Safety, & Supervisory Skills (Practice class, per CSWE)  
SOWK 4340: Leadership & Supervision Skills  
SOWK 4752: Trauma Informed Assessment & Interventions  
SOWK 4784: Suicide Assessment & Interventions  
Required Intervention Skills (Practice Skills, per CSWE)  
SOWK 4401: Integrated Health Care  
SOWK 4430: Substance Use Interventions  
SOWK 4700: Solution Focused Brief Therapy  
SOWK 4715: School SW Interventions *approval for visiting student needed  
SOWK 4723: SW Practice in Health  
SOWK 4730: Cognitive Behavioral Therapies  
Required Policy & Advocacy Skills  
SOWK 4655: Mental Health & Health Care Policy  
Required Evaluation & Research Skills  
SOWK 4900: Methods for Evaluating Practice & Programs  
Required Values  
SOWK 4235: Disproportionality & Disparities  
SOWK 4545: SW Practice with LGBTQIA Communities  
SOWK 4790: Human Sexuality  
SOWK 4643: Digital Justice  
 Required Field  
SOWK 4970: Concentration Field Internship  
  Electives     9 to 12 Credits 
SOWK 4521: Advanced Skills for Working with Military Families  
SOWK 4795: Foundations for HAEI-SW visiting student approval needed 
SOWK 4796: HAE Interventions in SW Practice visiting student approval needed 
SOWK 4797: Professional Integration of HAEI-SW visiting student approval needed 

*note courses that have not been taken to fulfill required categories above can be taken as an elective  
**courses available as a visiting student in Denver campus program online and in person will be provided to students prior to quarterly registration 

GSSW has created a variety of Pathway ideas as examples. However, students are allowed – and even encouraged – to mix and match their interests with suggested pathway course plans to tailor them to their own areas of specialization.

Please note that to receive federal loans, students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits per quarter, per DU Office of Financial Aid policy.  Additionally, credits outside of program requirements may not be covered by federal loans.

Develop an understanding of the history, values and ethics of the social work profession while you explore topics such as human development and behavior, the impact of oppression on individuals and groups, interventions with client systems, and how to apply research to programs and practice.

Online MSW students complete the full foundation curriculum, while Online Advanced-Standing MSW students complete three required foundation courses before moving on to their concentration.

Field Internships

Field internships are the highlight of the social work curriculum, providing you with the opportunity to practice your new skills in a variety of settings and specialties. You will apply classroom theory to real-world settings under the supervision of master’s-level social workers. Through their feedback and mentorship, you will gain valuable experience and hone your personal practice. The MSW@Denver curriculum combined with your field education will ensure that you are exposed to the many issues and challenges that you may encounter in your career as a social worker.

Learn more about field education.

Request information to learn more about MSW@Denver or contact the Office of Admission at 1-855-219-5995.

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